2019 Spanish GP: Qualifying Analysis

2019 Spanish GP: Qualifying Analysis

Valtteri Bottas took a dominant pole position at Catalunya, achieving a third consecutive pole for the first time in his career. We take a look at all the stats and stories from Saturday at the Spanish Grand Prix!


Q  U  A  L  I  F  Y  I  N  G     R  E  C  A  P

  • Bottas takes pole with a huge six tenth margin to team-mate
  • Ferrari fast in first sector, but slower than Red Bull in sectors two and three
  • Hulkenberg eliminated in Q1 after damaging front wing, Ricciardo reaches Q3
  • Haas ‘best of the rest’, both McLarens out in Q2

The Ultimate Pace

FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
21.284
Sebastian Vettel
28.040
Valtteri Bottas
25.878
Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas appeared unstoppable in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, as he took pole position by over six tenths of a second – the largest pole margin seen at the track since fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen beat team-mate David Coulthard to pole in 1998. The sector times show, however, that Ferrari were in fact faster than Mercedes in the first sector, with Sebastian Vettel setting a 21.284 compared to Bottas’ 21.488 in the opening part of the track. The latter sectors didn’t suit the Ferrari, however, with Mercedes being comfortably quicker – especially in the final sector. Red Bull’s pace was faster than Ferrari’s in both of the last two sectors, which certainly helped Max Verstappen to split the two Ferrari drivers on the grid.

POLE
LAP
ULTIMATE
PACE
1:25.406 1:25.202

By adding each drivers’ best three sector times together, we can get an idea of who put a lap together when it mattered, and who failed to pull all three sectors into one fast lap. This weekend, only Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon and George Russell achieved their full potential on their final qualifying lap. The largest difference between best actual lap and best potential lap was for Lewis Hamilton, whose fastest lap was a quarter of a second off his best three sector times added together. Even on their ultimate pace, however, Bottas was still 0.382 seconds up on Hamilton. For the first time this season, the grid would remain the same as it is if it was determined by the drivers’ best three sector times added together! The lap times are compared in the table below:

DriverQualifying TimeUltimate PaceDifferenceQuali Pos.Ultimate Pace Pos.
Valtteri Bottas75.40675.406011
Lewis Hamilton76.03875.788-0.2522
Sebastian Vettel76.27276.252-0.0233
Max Verstappen76.35776.281-0.07644
Charles Leclerc76.58876.455-0.13355
Pierre Gasly76.70876.62-0.08866
Romain Grosjean76.91176.877-0.03477
Kevin Magnussen76.92276.883-0.03988
Daniil Kvyat77.24377.205-0.03899
Daniel Ricciardo77.29977.223-0.0761010
Lando Norris77.33877.276-0.0621111
Alexander Albon77.44577.44501212
Carlos Sainz77.59977.553-0.0461313
Kimi Raikkonen77.78877.733-0.0551414
Sergio Perez77.88677.809-0.0771515
Nico Hulkenberg78.40478.16-0.2441616
Lance Stroll78.47178.382-0.0891717
Antonio Giovinazzi78.66478.508-0.1561818
George Russell79.07279.07201919
Robert Kubica80.25480.05-0.2042020

The team-mate battles

The largest gap between team-mates in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix was at Williams, where George Russell out-paced Robert Kubica by 1.182 seconds. It’s a worrying stat for Kubica, who swapped chassis with Russell ahead of the race weekend.

There were closer battles elsewhere in qualifying. At Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel eventually finished 0.316 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in Q3. In the previous two sessions though, the pair had been separated by less than half a hundredth of a second. Leclerc was 0.037 seconds faster in Q1, while Vettel was faster by 0.047 seconds in Q2. Things were even closer at Haas, where Romain Grosjean won the Q3 battle by just 0.011 seconds.

Small differences between team-mates can make a big difference to a driver’s qualifying attempt. This was most noticeable at Renault. In Q1, Daniel Ricciardo was faster than Nico Hulkenberg by just 0.019 seconds. While Ricciardo eventually progressed into the top ten, Hulkenberg was eliminated in Q1.

Largest gaps in each session:

Q1: Russell 1.182s faster than Kubica

Q2: Norris 0.261s faster than Sainz

Q3: Bottas 0.634s faster than Hamilton

Gap between team-mates in last session where each driver set a time:

Team Gap Winner
Mercedes 0.634 Bottas
Ferrari 0.316 Vettel
Red Bull 0.351 Verstappen
Renault 0.019 Ricciardo
Haas 0.011 Grosjean
McLaren 0.261 Norris
Racing Point 0.185 Perez
Alfa Romeo 0.532 Raikkonen
Toro Rosso 0.202 Kvyat
Williams 1.182 Russell

Looking at each driver’s ultimate pace also offers an interesting glimpse into who was fastest in each sector in each team. The results can be found in the table below. The smallest gap between a pair of team-mates’ best sector times today was 0.006 seconds, which separated Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat in the first sector, while the largest gap was 0.586 seconds, which was how much faster Kimi Raikkonen was than Antonio Giovinazzi in the final sector.

Driver FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
FASTEST
OVERALL
Mercedes BOTTAS BOTTAS BOTTAS BOTTAS
Ferrari VETTEL VETTEL LECLERC VETTEL
Red Bull VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN
Renault RICCIARDO RICCIARDO RICCIARDO RICCIARDO
Haas GROSJEAN MAGNUSSEN MAGNUSSEN GROSJEAN
McLaren SAINZ NORRIS NORRIS NORRIS
Racing Point STROLL PEREZ PEREZ PEREZ
Alfa Romeo RAIKKONEN RAIKKONEN RAIKKONEN RAIKKONEN
Toro Rosso ALBON KVYAT KVYAT KVYAT
Williams RUSSELL RUSSELL RUSSELL RUSSELL

Find all the team-mate battle statistics for the 2019 season here!





Team Pace

As mentioned above, Ferrari were fastest in the first sector, while Mercedes were fastest in sectors two and three, and Red Bull were faster than Ferrari in the latter two sectors. Red Bull’s pace was down in the first sector, with McLaren being the third fastest team in that section of track. Haas were the fourth fastest team in every sector, and Williams were slowest in all three parts of the track.

Team GAP TO POLE GAP TO ULTIMATE PACE
Mercedes 0 0.204
Ferrari 0.748 0.952
Red Bull 0.875 1.079
Haas 1.308 1.512
McLaren 1.772 1.976
Toro Rosso 1.793 1.997
Renault 1.817 2.021
Alfa Romeo 2.327 2.531
Racing Point 2.352 2.556
Williams 3.666 3.870

About the above table: the ‘gap to ultimate pace’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the overall best three sector times added together. The ‘gap to pole time’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the lap time of the polesitter.


Improvements between 2018 and 2019

Every team’s pace was faster in 2019 than it was in qualifying for the 2018 race. Toro Rosso were the most improved team, lapping over a second faster than they did last year, while Ferrari saw the least improvement since 2018.  You can see the full data below:

TeamDifference2018 Rank2019 Rank
Toro Rosso-1.05276
Alfa Romeo-0.8688
Racing Point-0.85599
Haas-0.79344
Mercedes-0.75411
Renault-0.52267
McLaren-0.47255
Williams-0.4411010
Red Bull-0.30633
Ferrari-0.15122

All set for Sunday:

Will Valtteri Bottas stamp his authority on the 2019 title race with a third win of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix, or can Lewis Hamilton get ahead of the Finn in the race? Can Ferrari do anything to secure their first win of the season – or will they have to look out for the threat from Red Bull? Elsewhere, Haas will be hoping to hold on to their starting positions, while Lando Norris will be looking to move up with his free tyre choice from tenth on the grid.

In the Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions:

LUCKY:

Pole: Valtteri Bottas

3rd: Sebastian Vettel

5th: Charles Leclerc

9th: Daniil Kvyat

19th: Robert Kubica

UNLUCKY:

4th: Max Verstappen

6th: Pierre Gasly

8th: Kevin Magnussen

10th: Lando Norris

16th: Nico Hulkenberg

20th: George Russell

Find out what makes each grid position lucky or unlucky here!

 






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